By Emily Jaycox For the Independent
The Stettler Lightning Junior B hockey team faced off against the Red Deer Vipers for the first time this season in Big Valley Nov. 30.
After that, they hit the road and played the Mountainview Colts on Dec. 1.
“We’re expecting two very competitive games this weekend,” said Head Coach Rory Rost in an interview before the games.
It was a close game but Stettler lost 4-3 to Red Deer. Against the Colts, Lightning lost in overtime 4-3.
Red Deer is currently in second place in the Northern Division standings, with a seven-point lead on the Lightning.
The Vipers were the league champions last year, but have lost some of their vet players this season, said Rost.
The Lightning defeated the Colts in an 8-0 shutout victory Nov. 16.
The Colts are a worthy opponent but the Lightning had unstoppable momentum in that home ice game, says Rost.
“It was quite an accomplishment,” he said.
“We’re right behind them in the standings.”
As of Nov. 29, the Colts had a three-point lead on the Lightning, for third place in the standings.
The Lightning now have a 10-9-0 record after defeating Cochrane 4-3 Nov. 17 and Three Hills 7-4 Nov. 23 on the road.
The Lightning then lost their next two matchups in closely-contested games, losing 2-3 against the Medicine Hat Cubs Nov. 24 and 3-4 against the Blackfalds Wranglers Nov. 27.
The Lightning outshot the Cubs 41-30 but had some attempts hit the post.
Rost says they just couldn’t “get a bounce.”
Goals were scored by No. 20 Brenden Tucker from No. 26 Tye Mulgove and No. 11 Erik Rost, and by No. Ethan Rost from No. 24 Reagan Holmes and No. 4 Quade Cassidy.
The Lightning had a clean game against the Wranglers, with each side incurring only two minor penalties, including tripping, kneeing and cross-checking.
Goals were scored by Mulgrove, unassisted, and Cassidy from No. 15 Jonathan Fournier and Tucker from Erik Rost and Mulgrove.
Stettler was down 1-3 heading into the third period but tied up the game with 90 seconds on the clock.
Unfortunately, during the face-off scramble, a defensive player accidentally sent the puck into the Lightning’s own net, says Rost, adding they had a good laugh about it afterwards.
Rost says he told the team that sometimes you’ll lose to teams you out-played, and sometimes you will win games you deserved to lose.
“That’s hockey,” he said.
“I’m disappointed in the results, but I’m not disappointed in terms of effort.”